Very little has been said and written so far about EU policies visàvis the Roma community, including the Ashkali and Egyptian communities when Kosovo is concerned. This is not to say that the EU was not interested in these communities and issues related to their employment, culture, rights, integration and education, especially those living in EU member states. Notwithstanding the EU’s commitment, the way forward for these communities, which by no means represent a minority in Europe, was slow and even regressive at times. One can argue that over the last couple of years, the Roma issue, the way it is referred to in Europe has become subject to more robust policies by EU member states which should translate into encouraging improvements. This magazine provides sufficient information into these policies that ought to mark a positive turning point in the integration of these communities in modern-day Europe. The European Magazine, the way we conceived it at the Kosovo Foundation for Open Society, brings different opinions by experts and activists in the field. For this edition, we have come across people who were very interested in sharing with us their expertise and rich experience in addressing Roma issues in Europe and issues related to RAE communities in Kosovo in particular. Over the last two decades, in the Balkans in particular, these ethnic groups have found themselves caught in foreign wars and were forced to move from one extreme situation to another. Most of them fled their homes, while few remained behind and faced the horrors of war. Those who were lucky and made it to Western Europe were not welcomed with open arms. With the exception of humanitarian assistance and temporary shelter, Western countries did not prove that they are willing and capable of tackling problems faced by these communities. In recent years, while a large number of people who experienced war are now consolidated in Balkans countries, Kosovo is witnessing the second exodus of RAE communities, but from an opposite direction. Namely, members of RAE communities are being forcefully repatriated by Western host countries back to Kosovo and are left to face the same grave problems they faced a decade ago. This Magazine brings different informational articles including critical thinking about these processes. We especially focus on options stemming from European policies, which will hopefully include Kosovo soon, and the results of readmission agreements that Kosovo authorities have signed with Western European countries, mainly EU member states. We have also addressed two processes that mark the current discourse and at the same time provide opportunities for successful integration: at the international level, the Roma Decade, and at the national level, the Strategy for the Integration of RAE Communities in Kosovo. I believe the magazine provides sufficient information that will bring the reader closer to these processes which are at focus of civil institutions and various donors. Government institutions too are now closer to these problems and are proving that they realize their significance: they have allocated budget funds for several activities stemming from the strategy and in support of the repatriation process. We strongly believe we are witnessing the first signs of increased awareness in Europe, Balkans and Kosovo, about the emergent need to provide Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities with a serious opportunity for a quicker and better integration in their respective societies.
Kosovo Foundation for Open Society
European Magazine 5 is available in 4 languages : English, Albanian, Roma, and Serbian and can be downloaded from links belowEnglish..... Shqip........ Romanes. Srpski.......